Liam rushed inside, d–n near breaking the door down. As soon as he was inside the familiar mansion, his eyes searched everywhere. He walked briskly. He saw two people trying to kick each other’s asses martial arts style on the television. He frowned. His training had helped heighten his instincts. And his instincts were telling him something wasn’t right. Yvonne had to be safe. She had to. What the hell would he do without her?
He walked slowly toward the kitchen. He saw Maria, the housekeeper, laying face down on the floor. And he saw the hair bow Yvonne had worn in her hair that morning lying simply on the ground. His heart turned to ice as a fury so deep it was lethal overtook his body. Yvonne had been kidnapped.
When I opened my eyes, I was met with complete darkness. My head was spinning, probably from the toxic fumes I had inhaled when the strong arms had restrained me… I bolted up as the memories hit me. I immediately was dizzy, but I fought through that, trying to see something in the pitch black darkness that was surrounding me. My eyes adjusted to the darkness and I was able to make out a door. I stood shakily and tried to get my bearings. The door swung open and I blinked in pain at the sudden sunlight attacking my eyes.
“I see you’re finally awake,” said a voice that I recognized well.
“Gretchen.” My voice was hoarse. She reached over and a light flickered on. She was dressed in a long, stylish beige trench coat and Louboutins that were the same color as her coat. She had a shiny sliver pistol in her hand and a wicked smile on her face. “I hope your arrival wasn’t too appalling,” Gretchen said politely. “Things between you and Liam were getting too lovey-dovey, so I had to intervene.”
“Where are we?” I hissed, venom in my voice.
“We’re in a warehouse my father owns. It’ll only be a matter of time until Liam figures out you’re here.” She paused, looking thoughtful. “However when he gets here you’ll be dead anyway, so what the hell.” She pointed the gun at me. Icy fear settled around in my heart. Her eyes were cold, unfocused. No doubt she was painting a pretty picture where she would be Liam’s trophy wife.
“Why?” I asked her. She looked confused.
“You know why,” she said. “Before you came along I had a real shot. But suddenly when you came along it was like I didn’t exist.” She looked me up and down and scoffed. “I don’t understand what makes you so d–n special. I don’t understand why he won’t look at me the way he looks at you.”
“But what’s killing me gonna solve?” I asked her, looking at her seriously. “You really think Liam’s gonna love you after this? He’s gonna know you did it, Gretchen.”
“He won’t have a choice,” she hissed venomously. “I’ll make him love me—” she stopped talking suddenly, looking at something. She nodded, lowering the arm that held the gun. She looked at me.“I’ll come back for you later,” she promised, turning out the lights and then shutting and locking the door. I knew I didn’t have long, but I also knew I had to find a way out of here.
“What?” three voices chorused in horror. Kayleen, Martia and Levi were all staring at Liam with what could only be defined as fear.
“I know she has Yvonne,” Liam said, pacing back and forth, kicking himself for not getting home sooner. Chauncey and William came from the east wing, both looking grim. “You watched the security footage.” Liam’s voice was panicked. William nodded, Chauncey handed Liam a piece of paper. It was a picture of a big, bald man with biceps the size of infant. He had his hand over Yvonne’s mouth. Liam swallowed, struggling to keep himself together. He had to keep himself together. Yvonne would be in his arms soon enough. He had to believe in that. He handed the picture to Gretchen’s father who looked at it carefully. The man nodded.
“Yep, that’s one of my best men,” he said grimly.
“Do you have any idea where Gretchen could be hiding Yvonne?” Liam asked desperately.
“Well…” he thought for a moment. “It’s a long shot, but I have a warehouse about four hours from here. There’s a chance she might be holding the girl there.”
“It’s a chance I’m willing to take. Chauncey, get the private jet ready now.” Chauncey nodded, walking off briskly. “Johnson,” Liam looked at him. Johnson nodded.
“I’ll get some of the guys from the squad together.” Liam nodded, relieved. He’d have his love with him again.
The door was locked on the outside, so it would be impossible to try to break out that way. Lucky for me I found a window that had been covered with old boxes. The sun shone through brightly as I struggled to pry it open. I had to get it open before Gretchen came back and found me. I didn’t want to end up with bullets in my back. Finally it popped open. My heart sped in happiness and excitement. I lifted myself up on one of the boxes and climbed out through the window. As soon as my feet were on the ground I was running.
The warehouse was surrounded by woods. I was just glad the sun was shining and that it wasn’t nighttime. The woods and the dark was a scary ass combination. I had been running for quite some time when I abruptly came to a halt. I saw three men and Gretchen standing a little ways away from me, talking. I quickly hid behind a tree, trying to control my erratic breathing.
“If they’re on their way here we should move her,” Gretchen was saying.
“Why are you toying with her?” One of the men asked in exasperation. “Why don’t you just kill her already?”
“Yeah, I agree with him,” said another guy, sounding every bit as exasperated as the first.
“What if she escapes?”
“Oh, I plan for her to,” she said chillingly, causing me to freeze. “And when she escapes, she’ll end up here.” And then she fired a shot that hit the tree right behind me. I knew that my cover was blown and I bolted. I could hear the footsteps behind me, pursuing me as I ran through the forest as fast as my legs would allow me. Another shot rocketed through the forest, this time it hit me in the shoulder. I cried out in pain but I kept running. I couldn’t stop now. I couldn’t… I had to…get back to…Liam—
My body sank forward, collapsing on the cool, hard earth. Gretchen came into view, kneeling over me, smiling angelically before she hit me over the head with the butt of her gun driving me into the darkness.
Liam could barely sit still. His stomach was in knots as he worried about Yvonne’s safety. He clenched his jaw as the plane soared smoothly through the sky.
“We’ll be landing in five minutes, Mr. Hawks,” the flight attendant said. He nodded. Hang on, Yvonne. I’ll be there soon.